Wow, what a night we had in Fleetwood on Saturday! Before I’ve even started this review, I’ve run out of superlatives – Alfie was on phenomenal form, holding the audience in the palm of his hand from beginning to end and basking in the love shown to him by the town, love that was clearly reciprocated.
Throwing in songs that spanned Alfie’s most recent albums (Serenata, Trust, Classic Quad, Together and Together Again) and a selection of songs Alfie clearly loves, this felt like a very personal set list – there wasn’t one song that didn’t work. Opening with Sing, Sing, Sing from his new swing album (November 2018), Alfie demonstrated a mastery of yet another musical genre:
Paolo Nutini’s Pencil Full of Lead was just one of several new songs we heard, along with Ophelia, Wichita Lineman, Islands in the Stream, with backing singer Tor (loved this one), Queen’s Spread Your Wings and Pinball Wizard / See Me Feel Me medley from The Who’s Tommy. Would have liked to hear Pinball Wizard all the way through – even better, I’d like to hear Alfie singing this with the Kaiser Chiefs, who, to my mind, do the best live cover of this. Click here to see more videos from Linda Wellington and Annie Lloyd.
As always, the band were amazing, with Murray, Dan and Tonksy being joined by Pete on guitar and Nigel on keyboards. Backing singer Tor has also been with Alfie before, on the Together tours and the brass section were magnificent:
The addition of Pete seems to indicate that playing guitar for Alfie necessitates a lot of hair (Dan on bass needs to step into line) but both Pete and Nigel slotted right into the band whilst also bringing something new into the dynamic. With only these few concerts lined up, let’s hope that we see more of Pete and Nigel in the future.
The song choice was weighted heavily in favour of those that could be danced to but of course Alfie found time for Bring Him Home, or Bring It Home as he said a lot of people call it (I once sat next to someone , in Blackpool of all places, who said I think he sings a song called Take Me Home – perhaps she was wishfully thinking!), preceded by the song he sang on Britain’s Got Talent, The Way You Look Tonight. Both were outstanding, accompanied by one of the brass section and Murray, respectively; Alfie stayed in the Bring Him Home bubble a lot longer than usual and was clearly moved when he saw the audience reaction.
To the crowd’s evident delight, the second half started with Alfie and the band taking to the stage with the new Fleetwood Town FC strip, personalised in each case and as he did throughout the evening, did a shout out for Trinity Hospice, who were out in force with collection buckets. Alfie is their patron and if you weren’t able to attend the concert itself, click here to see the excellent work they do.
When this homecoming concert was first announced it was clear that it would be a concert like no other and not to be missed. Alfie singing in Blackpool is something special but Fleetwood is in a category of its own. Throw in Jimmy watching from his upstairs window and Alfie’s Aunty Eileen almost stealing the show and you have the perfect evening. Alfie thought so, asking “why haven’t I done this before, it’s great” and declaring that he definitely wanted to return and do it again – the roar of appreciation as he said this indicates there’ll be a ready and willing audience. He was having such a great time, when it was finished (latest concert ever at 11.30!) he then popped into Highbury social club for a dance! He’s come a long way from the Marine Hall.
On a personal note, it was lovely to see so many fans and special thanks to those who found time to say hello, much appreciated. Wouldn’t have been the same without seeing so many friends, Paul and Pauline, Jennifer, Donna, Chelley, Linda Evans, Sonia, Pat and Janet, Carole, Karen, Jean, Nancy, Marj, Andrea, Carole and Eric, Jayne and Linda W (thanks for the videos). Sue, Pauline, Roberta, Annie, Angie and Cecelia, not to mention my bestie Linda A made a fabulous night even more special with a great after party that went on into the wee small hours!
Before I go, can I ask a favour for Alfie and Michael? They have made it to the shortlist for Album of the Year at the Classic BRITS and need your vote – please click here (UK voters only) to vote – thank you!
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